Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Arsenal Joga Bonito Wednesday:
Kanu En Espanol Edition

Here's an outstanding vid of Kanu's career, from winning the FIFA Under 17 World Championship in 1993 with an up and coming generation of Nigerian footy stars, to his early career at Ajax {where he picked up a Champions League winners medal} leading Nigeria to the gold medal as an 18 year old at the 1996 Olympic Games in Sanford Stadium {where I worked, met him, met the team, and became a fan of Kanu and the rest of The Super Eagles}, to his brief stint at Inter Milan, major success at Arsenal {2 EPL titles, 2 FA Cup titles}, through to his current stint at Pompey, as well as his overcoming a life threatening heart condition and setting up The Kanu Heart Foundation to provide medical assistance to Nigerian children with heart defects.

And for all of his sick goals over the years, I loved seeing that amazing goal that he scores in the Arsenal practice session where soon-to-be best striker in the world TH14 jumps on his back afterwards- never seen that one before.

Even if you aren't into footy, it is hard not to like Kanu: supremely talented and accomplished athlete from a humble background, overcame the adversity of life threating heart condition to not only recover but play again at a world class level, good family guy with values, and gives back to his community by investing his own money and starting a heart foundation to help children with conditions similar to his own. A little bit like Lance Armstrong really, except for all of the messy relationships with various women and the accusations of doping.

So enjoy a brief synopsis of the most decorated footballer in the history of African football, en Espanol.


moin said...

Love Kanu, in fact, love the Super Eagles. If only they were more consistent.

Also, I hate to bring a sour note to things, but this isn't good news for any of us:

Especially Anderson, that kid is ridiculously talented.

Kanu said...

Yeah I saw that too.

Hard to get too bummed out just now, we'll have to endure the silly season and then see how things shake out in August.

Of course that being said, it's like recruiting in CFB. Getting the studs isn't really as important as how they turn out. I remember last August when Arsenal fans were all so excited to have Baptista, that he was going to kick so much ass. Oops. And remember last August when suddenly West Ham were a force to be reckoned with after landing Tevez & Mascherano? Oops again.

So you never know, but yeah these two look really good. And they are young, which goes a little against SAF's signings, which tend to be more established stars.

We'll see...

But the real question is, who is going to win La Liga?

moin said...

Well, I had thought of Anderson as the next one from the Brazilian factory (Kaka-Diego-Anderson-Pato?) And there were rumours he was headed to RM, so that's extra disappointment for me.

La Liga? Next round will be key. Barcelona plays Espanyol, which, needless to say, is always tricky. Derbies are always hard to predict. And there have been times where Espanyol literally kicked the shit out of Barca to keep them from winning La Liga before.

On top of that, RM plays Zaragoza at Zaragoza. A big bogie team for them, so much so I'm going to go into a bit of a rant here.

I've always maintained that the turning point for the Galacticos was the that fateful Copa del Rey final in Barcelona. RM was coming off of a 4-2 drubbing of Monaco in the first leg of the CL in midweek (even though they let in an injury time goal to Morientes, who was on loan from RM at the time, it seemed an inconsequential consolation. So confident was RM that they let Beckham commit a tactical foul to get an extra yellow card so he could have a clean slate for the next round), was leading La Liga, and was massively favoured to capture the Copa before having a legit shot at the Treble. The team might not have been performing spectacularly, but the results were coming.

Beckham scored from an amazing FK, Zaragoza equalized (through a young David Villa, IIRC) before RC scored from another FK. And then Milito, whom RM rejected in the prior summer because he failed a physical, equalized in the dying minutes before Zaragoza wins it in ET.

And it was all down hill from there. The next week Monaco defeated RM 4-1 in the return leg (Giuly and Morientes shredded the RM defense). In in the course of a week, 2 RM was essentially defeated by 2 players that they deemed "unworthy", and not just tossed out, but in such a fashion that both players, all this time later, is STILL bitter about it. Gabriel Milito was a RM for several days before a rather dubious medical caused RM to refuse the transfer (honestly, it's the only time I've actually heard of such a thing done at this high of a level). Morientes was pushed out of the door so fast that RM never bothered to stipulate that Morientes can't play against them in the loan contract. It destroyed the team's morale and they just collapsed. And the rest is, well, history.

Not to mention the 6-1 drubbing RM took in Zaragoza last year. Want to take a wild guess who scored 4 goals that match? Diego Milito, Gabriel's younger brother.

I'm just saying, Zaragoza is Bolton to RM's Arsenal, except worse, because Zaragoza got karma on its side too. I am in no ways confident going into the match, regardless of the crazy results of the past months.

Kanu said...

Interesting stuff, Moin. I was pretty much getting it, but then when you said that Z were to RM as Bolton are to Arsenal, it quickly became crystal clear.

Sucks that we have to wait 2 weeks to see how it all ends, but on the other hand I suppose that it lessens the offseason a little, so that is a good thing.

I'm sort of fascinated how all of this tension will affect Spain in their 2 must win Euro 2008 matches this week, since national team unity in the locker room has always been spotty at best to begin with...

moin said...

I knew the Bolton comparison would bring everything together. The difference being that Zaragoza is perfectly capable of beating RM on talent alone.

As for the Spanish national team, normally it would be a problem, but since their 2 matches are against Latvia and Liechtenstein, I'd hope, for their sake, they can get by on talent alone.

Kanu said...

re: Spain- sure, but given their incredibly shitty beginning of their euro 2008 qualifying campaign, and subsequent lack of room for error from here on out, it is muy interesante...